The Cho must go on! Mahama back in action with eyes on triple crown
7th March 2021
Mahama Cho aims to use the longest period of inactivity in his career as a springboard to challenge for an unprecedented trio of major titles in 2021.
The 2017 World Championship silver medallist is one of fifteen GB Taekwondo fighters, including 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, Jade Jones and triple world champion, Bianca Walkden, competing at the Ramus Sofia Open in Bulgaria this weekend.
Cho, 31, hasn’t fought since finishing runner-up to Korean Kyo-Don In at the 2019 World Grand Slam in China.
But the super heavyweight is keen to make up for lost time, especially in a year when the World, Olympic and European crowns are up for grabs.
“I can’t wait to get back in action,” said Cho. “I have missed my opponents. I hope they have missed me too because I want to get back in the ring to see where I am at.
“One of the things that kept me going through lockdowns was having a consistency of a routine; ensuring I had something to look forward to.”
Cho, who created a home gym when unable to train at the National Performance Centre in Manchester, says of an attempt on taekwondo’s triple crown: “To achieve that would be phenomenal.
“There’s always a will and a way to be able to achieve that. Whoever is able to do that is the person who stays focused and stays on top of training.
“I hope I will be able to do what it takes to become the best person in all three majors and that the training programme doesn’t get broken up by anymore pandemic news and we can make history.”
Tomorrow, it's 𝔾𝕆 time! 🔥
— GB Taekwondo 🇬🇧 (@GBTaekwondo) March 5, 2021
For fellow Londoner Christian McNeish, he plans to shake off any ring rustiness in time for his European title defence in the same city.
“It’s great to be able to compete again following such a long period out of competition,” he acknowledged.
“Preparation has been mixed recently due to personal reasons but overall, I am feeling good and mentally strong.
“To win all three would be something but we will take one at a time and strive to achieve greatness.
“As this is my first tournament it would mainly be having ring time as a long-time off means getting rid of some ring rust and building momentum.”
McNeish, joined in the -68kg weight division by world champion Bradly Sinden, added of his Bulgaria trip: “It feels like nothing more than another competition.
“For me that’s how I try to view things. Put the work in and focus and whatever result comes then I will know the feeling after and deal with the outcome.”
-58kg: Mohammed Nour (Roehampton)
-68kg: Christian McNeish (Plaistow), Bradly Sinden (Doncaster)
-80kg: Josh Calland (Liverpool)
-87kg: Caden Cunningham
+87kg: Jonathan Bangura (Forest Gate), Mahama Cho (Stockwell), Lutalo Muhammad (Walthamstow), Jack Spall (Attleborough)
-49kg: Maddison Moore (Blakedown)
-57kg: Jade Jones (Flint)
-62kg: Chloe Roberts (Stoke)
-67kg: Sharissa Gannaway (Southampton)
-73kg: Rebecca McGowan (Dumbarton)
+73kg: Bianca Walkden (Liverpool)